The Cowboy & The Lady

As the Cowboy strode into town
That cool March night,
Did he know his destination would be,
In fact, a rendezvous with destiny?
Did he imagine that a fancy-dress frolic
In Manchester’s Fab Café would end
The night as a fateful flirtation?

As the Lady boarded her Magic bus,
Persuaded by her friends to soirée,
Did she anticipate her fate as she made
A last minute decision to stay out late?
Was she prepared for her heart to skip a beat
As, with signature ‘pistol’ dance moves,
The cowboy wooed her in his booted feet?

As they make their vows today, committing
Their futures to each other, would they say,
With hindsight, that it was love at first sight?
Surely they would answer, “yes” and “oh yeah!”
Because the love they feel now was also
Felt then, even as a spark, or a seed.
The spark fanned into a passioned flame,
And the seed has grown in their hearts
Into a tree of life, with hope that one day
There might be a nest amongst its branches.

Maybe it was destiny; maybe it was fate
That their destination would be a
Wedding day at this little old train station.
They may never know the reason why
They arrived at their good fortune, but
Today that cowboy’s hitched to his bride,
And Amanda’s got a man to hug and kiss.
And as they tie the knot, forsaking all others,
Our Daniel completes the tale for us of
“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.

For Dan and Amanda
on their Wedding Day, 19th May 2017

If it is your will

If it is your will
That I drink this
Cup of suffering
Then let it not pass by.
I trust you Abba knowing
That what you offer me
Is not the suffering itself
But the life of joy it delivers.
Therefore with this joy
Set out before me, may I
Endure in this labour
Knowing that your love
Endures forever.

(A prayer for Allyn, my dear friend and brother)

Measure of faith

You assign to me the measure
Of faith that keeps me firmly
In you, and yet invites me to
Walk more deeply into the
Grace you have given and
Are continually giving to me.
As this faithful grace fills up
In me a gracious faith it leads
Me to the One that is higher
Than I – Highest in the highest –
So I can know who I really am
And in truth whose I really am.
Only from that place of knowing,
And being known, can I see,
With sobering clarity, that you
Raise me up higher than I deserve
Through your mercy and love,
And that the path of righteousness
You set before me – the one
Bearing your name – is the road of
Humility leading to overflowing life.
May I walk this path in the light
Of your truth about me and know
The fulness of life lived out by a
Faith that grows in the measure
Of the grace I receive from you.

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
Romans 12:3

Sadness

The empty landscape where sky and land merge.
The raging storm whose sound is never heard.
The disabling moment where everything becomes nothing.
The hardest choice you don’t know how to make.

Picture the elephant that no longer trumpets his trunk.
Awaken to twilight at dawn and see dusk at noonday.
Experience being nowhere everywhere you are.

Sadness strips the soul naked and wraps it with a cold robe.
Sadness pins your soul to the canvas waiting for submission.
Sadness puts your life on pause in a fuzzy freeze frame.

Sadness occupies the now and knows only of the past.
Sadness cannot see tomorrow’s dawn and the hope that may emerge.
Sadness is no imposter yet knows when it’s time to leave.

Sad Elephant

The call of the hills

Hills-Call

What words do you have
To express my greatness?
Can your syllables undulate
And turn, your vowels and
Consonants crag with the
Suddenness and variance
Of my scarps and valleys?
What heights do your clever
Metaphors reach, how deep
Your double entendres?
Do they soar like my pikes,
Or reflect like my tarns?
Oh man, behold with breathless
Surrender the grandeur of
My ancient form, from time
Immemorial, and know that
Your poetry and prose cannot
Begin to describe the truth,
The deeper magic of Creation.
Still, unless you write, or speak
With your lexical inadequacy or
Enthuse with linguistic constraint,
Then who will tell of my beauty
And be moved to tread my paths?
What words do you have
To express my greatness?
Your best will suffice.

Hlls-Call-2

Dear body

Dear body,
I’m sorry that
I haven’t always
Loved you just
As you are, with
Your odd bits here
And creases there.
You’ve always looked
After me even when
I haven’t looked after
You, often dealing with
Things unseen and
Unnoticed that gave
Me health and wellbeing
And kept me safe.
I have not felt enough
Gratitude for all that
You are to me but today
I want to give you thanks.
You see, my mind has
Taken in so many images
And ideas of how a body
Should be that I forsook
The reality of what you
Really are to me – an
Inseparable partner on
My whole life’s journey
Who will be faithful to
The end and who will
Tell me when it’s time
To move into a new body.
They never told me that
You are the outward form
Of my inner soul and I
Was taught that you
Were subservient to my
Mind and ought to be
Forced into whatever shape
My twisted thoughts decide.
This is wrong and I am
Sorry that this has not been
An equal partnership.
I promise to value you and
Cherish you for who you are,
Just as you are.
I accept all the unique strengths
And weaknesses that make
You you and choose to
Recognise that those vain voices
That fearfully define our body image
Only have the power that
My mind allows them to have.
You have been a blessing to me
Even from my mother’s womb
And henceforth I want to be a
Blessing to you all the days
Of our shared life together.
You are a gift to me and I am
A gift to you. May we receive
Each other as that gift and
Love each other with the
Full and true value of our being.
Thank you for being my body
And for reminding my mind –
In your quiet unassuming way-
Just how much I love you.

The mystery of love

Do we find love,
Or does love find us?
This is a mystery that
Although it cannot be
Solved can still be
Beheld, and held as
Truer than true.

For we see in this
Covenant love today —
Signed and sealed
With promises and ink —
That where before two
Were alone, apart, distinct
Now there is but one.

One love. One life together.
One shared commitment
To receive and be received
In the deepest parts of
Their own identity, so the two
Apart are now two together,
Held in love’s mystery.

Today as these two set out into
Their own undiscovered country
They bring along things, experiences,
Collected over many years and they
Will in time find out which items
Serve and which only hinder but
Love will always lighten the load.

What is love that it can so bind, yet
Set free as it draws another closer?
Maybe we don’t ever find an answer
Because this love is indeed mystery,
But on this journey of discovery,
Of unity, finding out together, the key,
Perhaps, is to always share Chrumky.

For Phil & Lucy on their wedding day
13th August 2016, Slovakia

The Day it Snowed in April

It was so weird that morning
When we awoke to find
That things weren’t quite
As they ought to have been
The day it snowed in April.

And as if that strange start had
Somehow spread to infect us all
With humour, the silly jokes and
Contagious laughs came along fast
The day it snowed in April.

Around the breakfast table
We found that even things
Which yesterday were unfunny
Now suddenly had us tickled
The day it snowed in April.

We pondered – briefly – why this
Day might be so different from the
Rest but soon we switched again
To the peculiar unfamiliarity of
The day it snowed in April.

But sadly by the time it came
To go to school (or work) the
Snow had all but gone and left
No clue that there had ever been
A day it snowed in April.

Choose to be last

Most lives
Are lived
With the
Illusion of
Choice.
We think
We are free
To choose
What we
Want, but
In fact
We choose
Those things
That feed
Our inner
Pride – our
Idol of “me”.
It is not a
Show of
Power to
Choose what
Is already
Predetermined
Through our
Animal instincts.
With this
Choice we
Always choose
To be first.
Real power
Is when you
Can choose
Against that
Instinct and
Discover your
True humanity.
Real power
Is to
Choose to be
Last.